The Superior Scarlet Spider
Like the cover says, we wanted it and we got it. Kaine Parker, the Scarlet Spider, takes on Ben Reilly, the original Scarlet Spider, in Scarlet Spider 21. Now I know what you're thinking, Ben's dead. Been dead awhile. Did they pull a Jean Grey and bring him back through some strange means? Did Age of Ultron bring him back? It screwed a bunch of other stuff up so why not, right? Well, if you want the answer, you'll need to buy the book (or troll the internet for 30 seconds as I'm sure so many have done).
Anyway Kaine and Aracely have just returned from New York, and Kaine has learned his cellular degeneration has returned (I would have spoilered it, but if you're reading this review you've either read issue 20 or haven't and just don't care). Naturally, he is unhappy about this, and tearing his hotel room up. Aracely tries to help, but Kaine refuses and bails. He's shaken, and it almost appears as though his powers are failing him. Well, he meets a bright red fist right about here. Kaine is shocked, as it appears Ben is back from the grave.
As far as plot goes, it ends about here and picks up again just before the end of the issue. What transpires in between is Ben giving Kaine the beat down and really trash talking him. Much of what Ben says here about Kaine feels echoed of Ock and Kaine's trip to New York. He beats him morally and emotionally, berating him on his sad attempts at being a hero and being nothing more than a failed clone.
Carlo Barberi and David Baldeon's artwork is great. Honestly, it doesn't feel like there are two artists. The combat between Ben and Kaine is particularly well done, it feels like the punches and kicks really have weight behind them.
I don't have anything negative to say about the review, other than I think it would have been fun to drag out what is going on to the readers a bit longer instead of revealing it.
Scarlet Spider is, in my opinion, the second best spider book on the market right now (a close second to Venom, but that is just my personal taste). In 21 issues, Kaine has come a long way, and hopefully even though Venom seems to be getting cancelled, the keep telling Kaine's story because I am really excited to see where it goes. Scarlet Spider is a book that consistently delivers, so check it out. This issue is a great jumping on point.